Guest Post from Derek Weidensee on the 2011 Cut and Sold Report

The FY 2011 USFS “cut and sold” report just came out. At the risk of sounding to “Rain Man” like, here’s a couple stats some may find interesting.

–In Colorado, in 2011, the total “commercial timber harvest” was TWICE that of 2005. 2011= 69-MMBB vs. 2005=33-MMBF. Who would have expected that in the great recession!(The USFS includes “personal use firewood permits” in total volume sold. I arrived at “commercial” by subtracting the firewood volume from total).For being bankrupt, Intermountain must be cutting a lot of timber. I do believe I read that Intermountain doubled their capacity in that time. Without that mill(and the two pellet mills) no fuels treatments would have occured on either public OR private lands.
–In 2003, which was the low point in the Colorado timber sale program, the USFS sold a “total” of 32MMBF. In 2007, when the MPB alarm bells went off, the USFS sold 100 MMBF. That level has held steady with a five year average of 98 MMBF sold/year. Firewood permits went from 10 MMBF in 2003 to 20 MMBF in 2011.

–In Colorado, the average price for Lodgepole pine stumpage was $6.00/MBF. In Montana it was $50.00/MBF. In Montana somewhere aroud 50% of the “sold volume” was classified as “non-sawtimber”. That’s trees 7″-9″ diameter. “Sawtimber” is trees greater than 9″. In Colorado, around 85% of the sold volume was sawtimber. The above comparison tell me a couple things. First, Montana still has a timber industry that competes by “bidding up” timber sale prices. Second, the fact that Colorado offers so much “sawtimber” tells me the USFS is desperate to keep the last sawmill open and is desperate to reopen the mill at Saratoga. It’s intriguing to ponder what dire straights Colorado would be in now if Intermountain would have closed 6 years ago for lack of USFS timber like the mill in Saratoga.

Note from Sharon.. I think that many fuel treatments are done by service contract and not actually sold to mills, therefore not on this report. Anyone that knows more is encouraged to add their knowledge on this.

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